Propaganda posters stir discussion

TALIA CARLISLE
Last updated 16:54 11/02/2013
propaganda posters
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Towards the Precipice: Propaganda posters collected by W B Sutch on show at Mahara Gallery.

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Mahara Gallery's latest exhibition is stirring up memories with its collection of propaganda posters collected by William Sutch.

William Ball Sutch was an English-born New Zealander who travelled through Europe while working for the government in the mid-1930s.

During his travels he collected propaganda posters from Britain, Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union, leading up to the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

Mahara Gallery director Janet Bayly said the posters are an important part of New Zealand's history given the nation's role in World War II and have caused plenty of discussion at the gallery.

"[For] a lot of people it's stirring up memories for them of their experience of the war years, or the Depression years."

The posters collected were used during 1935 to 1942 as tools by the government to inspire and inform their residents in Britain, Spain, the Soviet Union and Germany.

"Some of the posters are fascinating because they include things like the British colonial forces . . . there's all of these countries whose names have changed because we're now in a post-colonial era," Ms Bayly said.

Some posters feature strong images of the countries' leaders at the time including Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler, while others appear more subtle with British slogans like "Let us go forward together", or scenes of the Aryan German lifestyle.

The exhibition also shows the controversial film Olympia by German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, also accused of being a propaganda tool.

Towards the Precipice: Propaganda posters collected by WB Sutch, February 3 to March 24, Mahara Gallery, Waikanae.

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- Kapiti Observer

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